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Communicating the Lake Tulloch Story
Communicating the Lake Tulloch Water Crisis Story
Prepared by The Lake Tulloch Alliance
Citizens need to communicate to elected officials and others that misguided environmental laws may force the draining or significant draw down of Lake Tulloch damaging the economy, ecology and people of the region.  The message is simple:
“ End water releases for fish now while we are in a drought.“
Understanding the Players - Here are several key points that need to be consider in communications with these leaders and even your friends and colleagues.
  • Irrigation Districts and Tri Dam Authority – First, they are not our enemy. These agencies have spent millions of dollars fighting this faulty policy fish flow pushed by environmentalists. Tri Dam has tried to keep Lake Tulloch at the historic levels and often with pressures to change them.  The irrigation districts do have a responsibility to provide water to farmers.
  • Environmentalism – The environmental movement seldom advocates policies with any understanding of their economic or social impact. Wasting scare water in a  drought while hariming people second is a mistake and misguided policy.
  • Responsible Agencies  -- The key federal agencies are the US Bureau of Reclamation that operates Melones and the National Marine and Fisheries Services. The key state agency is the Water Resources Board appointed by Governor Brown.
  • Responsible Officials – The people most able to intervene on behalf of sound public policy are California Congressman, California State Legislators, Governor Brown, and local government officials and agencies such as the Calaveras County Water District. We have talked to Democrat and Republican leaders who share the same view that this bad policy.
These are some of the key players in this issue. It is important that we speak up while the well paid lobbyists of environmental organizations continue to advance this harmful and ineffective policy.
Talking Points

  1. Primary MessageThe environmental policy requiring agencies to release water during a drought for fish needs to be ended immediately. The water is flowing out of Melones now and at this planned rate by September no more water would travel out of the dam and down the river. This policy not only threatens the people and economy of Lake Tulloch but the Sierra Foothills and large parts of the Central Valley. Our entire region has a stake in the outcome of this issue.
  2. Policy Just Postpones No Water for Fish – Since there will be no water in the dams by August or September if current policies are not ended, no more fish flows would be possible. Therefore, this environmental policy postpones the time when fish flows end.  
  3. Water for Fish Releases Don’t Work – The release of water to save fish is not based upon sound science and doesn’t work according to millions of dollars in independent research. Most importantly, once the reservoirs are drained no more flows are possible. Again, the releases just postpones the time when the flows for fish are impossible but at the price of bringing down our reservoirs to near zero.
  4. Water for People and Food – The priority for the use of water should be for drinking water and agricultural irrigation. If Tulloch is drained the water supply is threatened.
  5. Water Conservation – The release of billions of gallons of water to save fish during a drought is counter to water conservation goals. We should conserve our resources if this drought persists into 2016. Over 163 billion gallons of water have been drained from New Melones Reservoir over the last year for fish.
  6. Water for Fish Releases is Depleting Storage – For 2015, if we end the release of water for fish now we could avert the draining of Lake Tulloch and other lakes. We would have 1 million acre feet in Melones now instead of 500K without releases for fish. (See chart on previous page.)
  7. Draining Tulloch Impacts a Large Community – A community of about 10,000 has grown up around the lake and agencies responsible have a moral and ethical responsibility to these people to see that their best interests are considered in the context of needed water for agriculture. The draining of the lake will seriously impact our drinking water. It damage the local economy and depress property values. It would end summer tourism but would impact the community year long.
  8. Ecology – Draining of the lake will damage the habitat in Lake Tulloch that the FERC Lake Tulloch Shoreline Management Agreement mandates be protected. (Adjacent Picture of Bald Eagle taken on Tulloch 2/2014)
  9. What this is not about! – This is not about people being able to float their boats on the lake. We need to all work together during a time of crisis and we are in one.  Also – this is not about protecting a few million dollar homes on Lake Tulloch. The average price of a home here is several hundred thousand dollars and lower than values in the Central Valley.
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